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LUSU have announced that a referendum will be held to allow students to vote on the Union’s strategic direction for 2014 onwards. Voting opens on Tuesday, Week 8, and closes on Friday, Week 8.
The strategic direction lays out LUSU’s aims, objectives and values. The last strategic direction expires in 2014, providing the necessity and opportunity to re-evaluate LUSU’s vision for the future. A summary of the strategic direction can be found at the LUSU website.
One area the strategic direction focuses on is opportunities. The strategic direction pledges to “Provid[e] you with opportunities to globalize your Lancaster experience by connecting with our many communities on campus and overseas,” as well as help students with employment opportunities.
Elsewhere, the direction aims to provide relevant and high quality services for members of LUSU, while also researching and locating new means to generate funds for the Union to make it sustainable.
Perhaps most prominently, the direction pledges that LUSU will continue its aims of getting the best education and support for its members. The direction pledges to “Actively seek to understand, represent and campaign for your aspirations and concerns, and those of future students.” This, the plan elaborates, would take place not only at university level, but at local and national level as well.
The online referendum on the strategic direction, which is open between Tuesday Week 8 and Friday Week 8, coincides with elections for Cross-Campus Officers, Student Trustees and several JCR by-elections. There will be a short presentation and question-and-answer session on the strategic direction on Monday, Week 8, in George Fox Lecture Theatre 1 as part of the hustings for the Cross Campus Officer and Student Trustee elections.
LUSU has been actively promoting the strategic direction and have gone to great lengths to consult students. The sustained campaign to promote LUSU’s plan since the beginning of Lent term – which is perhaps best remembered for the large blackboard in Alexandra Square – culminated on Thursday, Week 5, with the Union’s “Pop-up café,” which aimed to inform students about the strategic direction while providing various forms of entertainment.
SCAN spoke to VP (Union Development) Laurence Pullan at the ‘Pop-up café’, which was held in a marquee in Alexandra Square. “This is the last chance students have to input into our strategic direction before the question is put to be voted on,” Pullan said. “We’ve spent the year with our pop-up cafes, our blackboard, our hashtag, our website, trying to collate as much information as possible, and this is our last big push to let students know what’s going on, why it’s important and why they should vote.
“We’re just here to make sure they know that a referendum is happening.”
Pullan highlighted the importance of making sure students know the details of the strategic direction and what it aims to do. “When it comes down to the nuts and bolts of voting, we need to make it very clear what students are voting for,” Pullan told SCAN. “We’ve come under a little bit of criticism – especially last year, with the Full-Time Officer restructure, when not many people knew what they were voting for on the ballot – so we’ve tried to make people aware of what the referendum’s about.”
In addition to the promotion leading up to the referendum, students are able to find out more information about the strategic direction at the direct point of voting. “When people come to vote we are going to be providing links to our website – #iwantlusuto” Pullan said. “[The website] has been continually updated: whereas it used to say ‘this is what we are going to do’ now it will say ‘this is what we’ve managed to collate from your feedback.’”